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BMA-backed report exposes massive pay gap and 'hostile culture' faced by women doctors

By Nigel Praities

The BMA has called for a ‘joint effort' to prevent sexual discrimination in the NHS after research partly funded by the body showed women doctors earn thousands of pounds less than their male colleagues.

The study finds women doctors face a ‘hostile culture' when trying to advance their careers and earn £15,000 pounds less than male doctors on average.

The report – funded by the BMA, the Medical Women's Federation and Imperial College London – comes weeks after a Government report called for a 'step change' in employment rights for women GPs.

The study of the Women in Academic Medicine database found some of the gender pay gap could be explained by ‘career factors', such as women taking maternity leave to begin families.

But once these factors were removed, there was still an ‘unexplained discrepancy' of £5,500 in the pay of female consultants and a £2,000 gap for junior doctors.

This – the authors conclude – is due to systemic discrimination against women, with employers unsympathetic to the pressures of family life and women doctors unable to threaten to move jobs owing to their family commitments.

‘Our results clearly show that men and women with identical experience and expertise are paid differently – which suggests evidence of discrimination.'

‘The report identifies tangible reasons for part of the gender pay gap but for a large part the gap is unexplained, as is that in academic medicine. Hence this report calls for changes in the workplace to remove discrimination in pay,' said the researchers from the University of East Anglia and Imperial College London.

A BMA spokesperson said the report showed evidence women faced a ‘hostile culture' working in the health service.

‘Women are not getting a fair deal in some areas, despite the fact we are now living in 21st century Britain.'

‘There needs to be a joint effort to solve this problem, not just on the part of managers and ministers, but also on the part of women so that they can be empowered to challenge the hostile culture they are often faced with, especially when attempting to secure their progression up the career ladder,' he said.

The BMA-backed report found widespread evidence of sexual discrimination The BMA-backed report found widespread evidence of sexual discrimination

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